Qualification issues of Indian nurses in UAE to be resolved soon: Muraleedharan
The minister also asked nurses to approach and register their issues with education consul at the Consulate.
Scores of Indian nurses in the UAE facing a 'serious and diverse job crises' caused by a recent change in educational requirements have renewed hope that their issues will be resolved, following a meeting with the minister of state for foreign affairs.
After the UAE made a bachelor's degree the minimum qualification for registered nurses last year, over 200 diploma holders had alleged job loss, while several others are facing demotion to the position of a practical nurse, irrespective of their years of experience.
'Issue will be resolved soon'
In a bid to resolve their issues, the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan met with over a hundred nurses and listened to their problems on the sidelines of a community event organised by the Indian Association in Sharjah on Wednesday, October 16. The minister is in the UAE on a two-day trip to attend the Abu Dhabi Dialogue on Thursday.
He assured the troubled nurses, "We have submitted documents from the Indian Nursing Council to the concerned UAE authorities. The documents have provided details on which Indian states are accepted and offering nursing courses. Let us wait for them to examine that and inform us." The minister also asked all gathered nurses to approach and register their issues with education consul at the Consulate - General of India in Dubai on Thursday, October 19.
He also assured the nurses that during his next visit, he would meet with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education to resolve their problems.
The minister also met with a small group of teachers with certification from distance education Universities and parallel colleges in India. The teachers said they job losses as they cannot procure an equivalency certificate from UAE authorities. The group submitted a petition to the minister, and Muraleedharan assured them that their issues would be taken up with the concerned authorities.
New educational requirements
As per the new requirements, nurses with diploma certificates are now expected to complete a bridge course to obtain a BSc nursing programme from universities in the UAE accredited by the Ministry of Education (MOE) by 2020. "The bridge course costs anything between Dh60,000 to Dh70,000, something a lot of us cannot afford," a nurse told Khaleej Times.
Unfortunately, several nurses who enrolled in programmes could not proceed with the course as their equivalency certificate for the diploma credential was being rejected.
However, as of now, the MOE only recognises certificates issued by the Kerala Nursing Council, putting diploma holders from other states in India at risk.
The minister added: "Until ten days ago, only certificates issued by the Kerala Nursing Council were recognised by local authorities. However, this particular issue is in the process of being resolved. All other issues that nurses are facing should be communicated with the Consulate with immediate effect."
Many nurses, though from Kerala, have received their diploma certificates from states outside of Kerala were present at the meeting as well. "I received my diploma from the state of Punjab. I've been working as a registered nurse for over 15- years. I have three kids. How can I invest in education in this state," asked a distressed nurse.
However, the issues did not end there. A group of seven diploma holders present at the meeting told the Minister that even though they have taken a bridge course from an accredited UAE University. However, they cannot find employment as they also need to have at least two years of experience as a registered nurse with a BSc degree. Consul-General of India to Dubai Vipul has also advised the nurses to approach the Consulate with their issues.
Private hospitals continuing to hire diploma holders
However, a private hospital in Dubai told Khaleej Times that they are continuing to hire diploma holders in their clinics and hospitals for the position of assistant nurses. "There are two categories of nurses- registered nurses and assistant nurses. For the position of registered nurses, we are hiring nurses with a BSc degree. Diploma holders can work in the assistant nurse's position."